There wasn’t any time to panic. When sea-trialing a boat with Capt. Bill Pike, there’s no time for anything, really—especially if it’s “a-goin’ machine,” to use an expression Bill is quite fond of. You just grab the nearest handrail and hold on. Fast. The boat was the SeaVee 290B, a trailerable, stable performer that’s versatile by design and built to take anglers out to where the fish are biting no matter the offshore conditions.
Before the test, Bill and I were discussing the boat’s build with John Caballero, sales and marketing director of SeaVee Boats. The 290B’s fully cored hull, stringers and bulkheads are resin-infused simultaneously, thereby creating a primary bond between them for a fast, efficient and quiet ride. (SeaVee stands behind its construction techniques by offering a 10-year warranty on the hull.) John jumped down into the forward 110-gallon fishbox for emphasis: Everything on board was solid.
This particular 290B featured plenty of stowage options, from lockable wing boxes at the bow to compartments on the starboard and port sides of the transom. Our boat was classic white, but it’s offered with at least nine factory gelcoat colors, so customers have plenty of options to choose from when customizing their boat.
Founded in 1974 by Miami native Capt. Don McGee, SeaVee boats have long been built for bluewater fishermen. But a recent rebranding has given the company a new post to hang its hat. While it still builds fishing machines, the company’s deep stable of center consoles is now offered with a bevy of options, including bow seating and electric sunpads, aft sofas and more, which are all geared toward the owner who wants to take family and friends out to fish or just cruise.
On that golden, hazy day in Miami, that’s exactly what John had in mind for us. Skipper Eddie Juan, a SeaVee enthusiast pressed into service for the show, pointed the bow into the shambolic, 4-foot slop of Biscayne Bay; the confused sea conditions were made all the worse by other boats zipping back and forth around us. “Most boaters fear the wakes of other boats,” said Eddie, handing over the helm to Bill. “You don’t have to with this.”
I barely had time to put down my notebook and grab a handrail before we were gunning for the horizon. SeaVee claims the 290B planes at 13 knots, and that sounds right: We jumped onto plane almost instantly. The boat’s deep-V hull with 25 degrees of transom deadrise and sharp angle of entry creates a smooth ride, and though we aimed the bow at numerous wakes, the five people we had on board never once got wet. Our 290B was rigged with twin 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards and with the hammer down we hit 52-plus knots. I don’t think Bill stopped smiling once.
I almost had to pry the helm away from him to get a turn. Eventually, he relented. “Good lord!” said Bill turning to John. “You made a believer of me.” —Simon Murray
SeaVee Boats, 305-759-6419; seaveeboats.com
DISPL.: 5,900 lbs.
FUEL: 251 gal.
WATER: 34 gal.
STD. POWER: 2/250-hp Mercury Verado outboards
CRUISE SPEED: 34 knots
TOP SPEED: 59 knots
BASE PRICE: $148,700